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What is an Eye Stroke? - Oren Zarif - Eye Stroke

An eye stroke affects the blood flow to the brain and may cause a sudden, unexpected reduction in vision. Although eye strokes are usually temporary, they can cause other complications. If you notice that you suddenly lose vision, it's time to get checked out. An ophthalmologist can take sophisticated pictures of the blood flow in the eye. A doctor will be able to tell if your vision is affected by an eye stroke and suggest the best treatment options.

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The main cause of eye stroke is poor circulation in the blood vessels that supply the retina. This blood flow is critical because retinal cells need oxygen to survive. When blood flow to the retina is blocked, the retinal cells begin to die, and it can permanently damage the vision. Various factors can cause retinal blood flow to become blocked, including a clot or fatty plaque. A patient's overall health and age are also risk factors.

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Some medications may be prescribed for people with symptoms of eye stroke. Among these medications are those that act as neuroprotectors and regenerate the nerve fibers in the retina. These treatments haven't been proven to be beneficial, however. Other treatments include controlling cardiovascular risk factors, such as high blood pressure. If the cause of eye stroke cannot be identified, the patient will be evaluated for additional symptoms. After all, eye stroke is serious. The sooner it's recognized, the better the chances of saving your vision.

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Patients who experience sudden blurred vision or loss of vision should be checked for an eye stroke immediately. Even if the symptoms are temporary, they may indicate an increased risk of stroke. An emergency room may be the only place to see a doctor when you suspect that you're suffering from an eye stroke. Thankfully, many emergency departments at Mount Sinai have high-resolution imaging equipment. Additionally, the team at the Mount Sinai Stroke Service is ready to treat the patient right away.

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The risk of having an eye stroke is increased by heart disease and certain other risk factors. For example, 64 percent of people with an eye stroke had an additional risk factor for heart disease. High cholesterol was the number one risk factor. The long-term outcome for survivors depends on the type of stroke and the success of the treatment. The majority of eye stroke patients suffered significant vision loss. And even if the stroke is minor, the long-term outlook depends on the severity of the condition and the type of affected arteries and veins.

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Diagnosing eye stroke requires a thorough examination of the patient. The doctor will use special imaging devices and tools to create a clear image of the interior of the eye. These tools can help identify the presence of blood clots in the retina. Fluorescein angiography highlights damage to the blood vessels in the retina. A fluorescein dye is injected into a vein in the arm and travels through the bloodstream to the eye. A camera then captures images of the arteries in the retina.

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Another cause of eye stroke is a blockage of retinal veins. These veins leak fluids into the retina, which hinders the circulation of oxygen and reduces vision. If the vein is blocked in either of these places, the retina is likely to swell and become opaque. In these cases, prompt medical treatment is critical to prevent permanent vision loss. However, many eye stroke patients do not experience any symptoms at the onset of the disease.

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Symptoms of an eye stroke can be very similar to those of other types of stroke. While some patients may be able to recover their sight in a few days, others may not be able to regain it. Treatment for this condition depends on the type of eye stroke. In the case of NAION, treatment is focused on restoring vision. However, the treatment options are more limited. The aim of a treatment is to save the patient's life and to prevent further strokes.

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If you are not experiencing any symptoms after an eye stroke, the cause of the stroke may be a blood clot in the retina. If this is the case, your doctor may recommend a blood-thinning medication that will dissolve the clot and allow the eye to heal. In severe cases, a retina may be detached. As a result, eye stroke can lead to serious complications. Therefore, it's important to get immediate medical attention if you suspect you are suffering from an eye stroke.

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